This summer, Interim Dean Everette James charged the associate dean for diversity and inclusion with the creation of a Social Justice Action Committee, that would confront systemic and structural racism at Pitt Public Health and beyond by developing systematic solutions and actionable recommendations to achieve social justice and racial equity and bring about transformative change.
- Noble Maseru (Chair)
- Brenda Diergaarde (Co-Chair)
- Tina Batra Hershey (Co-Chair)
- Aaron Barchowsky
- Andre Brown
- Jeanine Buchanich
- Mackey Friedman
- Tiffany Gary-Webb
- Mary Hawk
- Marian Jarlenski
- Robin Leaf
- Serwaa Omowale
- Mary Brady
Work Group Recommendations
In July, the committee convened work groups of faculty, staff, and students to share their experiences and suggestions for actionable recommendations and systemic solutions.
Over 60 people were randomly assigned to focus on curriculum, HR/hiring, and culture. There was also a heterogeneity work group that worked across these themes. Input from a digital comment box was incorporated for those that wished to remain anonymous or otherwise weren't able to join a work group.
Read the Recommendations
The recommendations were submitted to Interim Dean James and to Senior Vice Chancellor Shekar and were met with good reception.
SJAC Town Hall
Words of outrage are meaningless without action.
The recommendations were presented to the Pitt Public Health community, including: creation of a Pitt Public Health Office of Diversity and Inclusion, pipeline programs, and a culture of transparency to address culture. In terms of hiring, resources need to be allocated to recruiting and mentoring and we need to recognize the value of community and social justice work as a school, including through retention of our current students, faculty, and staff. In the area of curriculum the work groups recommended an outside evaluation of the current curriculum to inform update and direct addressing of specific circumstances that have caused distrust.
The Pitt Public Health community was asked to comment on and help to prioritize the recommendations. A discussion was moderated by James Huguley, interim director of the Center for Race and Social Problems at the School of Social Work. Highlights of the discussion include:
- connecting this work to the community
- evaluation/measurement and accountability
- synergy with other schools of the health sciences, SVC, University, community
- diversity education
- pipeline programs
It took us 400 Years to get into this situation, it's going to take all hands on deck to get out.